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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 10, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EDT

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romney campaign uses a new television ad to try to make nice with republicans. but first, we have new details i suppose about the famous unnamed source that allegedly told senator harry reid that mitt romney paid no federal income taxes for ten years. here is reid's deputy communications director jose parra. >> all we can say is that we're comfortable with this person. this person is an investor in bain capital. a republican also, and somebody who, you know, who has been dealing with mr. romney's company for a long, long time. and he had direct knowledge of this. >> after that sound bite popped up on the huffington post jose parra almost immediately released a retraction reading, "i dofrnt know the party affiliation of the source, how long he invested with bain or his relationship to romney beyond the fact that he was an investor with bain capital as
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senator reid has stated." democrats and the obama campaign are intent on making him pay the full cost of this secrecy. mitt romney's secret tax returns are the subject of a just-released television ad from president obama's re-election campaign. >> did romney pay 10% in taxes? 5%? zero? we don't know. but we do know that romney personally approved over $70 million of fictional losses in one of the largest tax avoidance schemes in history. isn't it time to come clean? >> son of boss really has a nefarious ring to it. as for romney, he's still fighting his last battle. or more accurately, the battle he can never seem to definitively win, the battle for the hearts and minds of the right-wing commentariat who are convinced he doesn't truly love them and want to be with them. last night ann coulter demanded he fire andrea saul for touting
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massachusetts's health care law on fox news. andrea saul still has her job as far as we know. today republican commentators were still not over saul's remarks. >> we conservatives don't think the republican establishment knows what they're up against. the way to respond to that ad is not accept its premise and then say, well -- it scared me that they may not know what they're up against. >> here's what i think he should do, mitt romney should do. he should fire his staff. eric fehrnstrom, the guy who said the mandate's not a tax. you can get rid of him. then you can get rid of andrea saul. >> you want to fire mitt romney is what you -- >> oh. >> the timing of a new romney ad released today looked like another attempt to solidify the base. the ad seems pitched to appeal to the several thousand subscribers to the right-wing catholic journal "first things" with a bonus quasi-endorsement from the ex-pope. >> who shares your values? president obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith. mitt romney believes that's wrong.
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>> in 1979 a son of poland, pope john paul ii, spoke words that would bring down an empire. be not afraid. >> when religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with? >> with 89 days until the presidential election, two new national polls show president obama widening his lead on mitt romney. an orc poll of registered voters showed the president up seven points on romney, 52% to 45%. and a fox news poll of registered voters shows the president up nine points on romney, 49% to 40% as the president's biggest lead in that poll since romney became the presumptive republican nominee. joining me now, the huffington post's sam stein, msnbc's joy reid, and father james martin. he's a jesuit priest and author of "the jesuit guide to almost everything." we were discussing in the green room my father was a jesuit seminarian for seven years. i feel like i know you already, father, it's good to have you
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here. to you, father, for the political strategy right off the bat here. in all seriousness, father, i'm curious to get your reaction to that ad because what was striking to me about the ad and what's striking to me about going on this issue was that there was a huge fight over this provision of the affordable care act and whether religious institutions like universities would have to cover preventative care including birth control for free. and that was a political battle that was waged and i think actually the democrats won that political bat until purely political terms. but it just seemed a strange thing to me to be trotting out now in august in a general election campaign. do you feel that the symbolism there and the picture of the pope and the be not afraid and the rousing music has some sort of totemic power with the catholic voter that i'm missing? >> it might. i mean, it's still an interesting issue for a lot of catholics. the bishops are certainly very concerned about it. but i think, you know, if you bring up john paul as kindf someone who's endorsing it you have two problems. a, he's dead.
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and b, you know, there's a lot of things that john paul stood for in terms of universal health care with a particular option for the poor that mitt romney may not want to be associated with. i also like to say that be not afraid is actually something that jesus said, which i think goes a little missing in that ad. >> that's a very good point. the pope was quoting someone else. >> he was. the pope was quoting his own boss. so, yeah. >> sam, my basic feeling was once you get lech walesa's endorsement in an american election basically the election is over. and i say that not to poke any fun at lech walesa, who's a remarkable figure in the history of the resistance to soviet tyranny. but it did seem to me, again, a strange calculation from a campaign that i think -- whose strategists recognize and the candidate himself recognizes that anxiety about the economy is the defining feature of the election and yet it just seems to me like day after day after day goes by and they are somehow not talking about that. >> well, first of all, thank you for not asking me about catholicism. i would be totally ill equipped
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to answer that. but i think you totally hit the nail on the head. there is something off about this. and it's not just contraception ad. we came off of a two-day argument about welfare reform. again, not a topic we thought this election would be about, especially not from romney, whose campaign has been arguing under the argument or under the premise that if you just keep the conversation squarely on the jobs, squarely on the economy that he'd win. and you know, in each these cases both the wefrm reform ad and the couldn't vaepgs ad that we saw today we're again seeing an exhibition of why romney's sort of uniquely unqualified in this election. because one, he obviously -- it was reported he requested a waiver from welfare reform bac in 2005 and with the contraception rule he signed a very similar law that the president did while governor of massachusetts. and this is a reoccurring theme whereby the romney campaign will throw a punch and then it will be quickly lexisnexis that they did the exact same thing. although it's curious to me that he hasn't kept this focused on the economy and i'm wondering like a lot of other people why
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they're going off on these tangents. >> in the o.r.c. poll they ask folks -- sorry, the cnn poll will the economy get better if so and so's re-elected. if obama's re-elected 47%. if romney's elected, 45%. that's down from may, which means he's moving if the wrong direction on the key metric. >> the problem is that i think that sam kind of hit on it. the romney campaign has been preparing for like two years, right? to run just on the economy. the economy is bad, elect me. they really didn't have a second act. so now that they're not winning on that argument because americans seem to have discounted the idea of the economy, they seem to be sort of even. that is within the margin of error. he this seem to be thinking one guy, the other guy, we don't think either of these guys controls the economy. i don't think the economy is any more what the electorate is looking at. they're evaluating these two people. and and mitt romney can't win that argument. so he's doing this backwards thing where he's going back and rung the primary again. which doesn't make sense. he's going back to rewin the primary. >> that's what strikes me as so strange. again, i'm not a political
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strategist. i've never gotten anyone elected president. what do i know? but it does strike me as strange that you're pitching on the familiar culture war territory. and then so here's ann coulter tweeting, "republicans have the best ideas, candidates, tv radios, writers, businessmen. why do we have the worst campaign spokesmen?" and this is a preposterous theory of the case to me insofar as it's not the spokespeople for the campaign the problem. it's not that andrea saul cited the health care law in massachusetts. that's not the issue. the core issue, sam, is what you mentioned before, is that the guy has the record he has and here we are in august and it seems to me like the conservative commentators are just waiting for him to slip up. they're so anticipating some grand betrayal that any small thing that happens is taken as finally, oh, yes, the signal is here, he's touted robert zoellickic to head his foreign policy transition team, he's stabbing us in the back. andrea saul touted a bill that he passed in massachusetts that worked out well for mass marx he's standing us in the back.
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>> isn't what ann coulter doing the definition of shooting the messenger? that's literally what they're doing. and it's unfair to andrea saul in so many respects. we go from on the one hand conservatives lamenting that mitt romney isn't making a more forceful case for all his accomplishments whether it's in the business community, whether it's at the olympics, whether it's as governor, and in the next case literally one minute after they tout the signature legislation achievement of his time as governor conservatives are apoplectic over it. and i don't think -- i have no reporting on this, but i don't think andrea saul was just going rogue there. i think the romney campaign really wants to talk about some of the accomplishments he made. the problem of course, is that a lot of them aren't, you know, probable in a campaign against obama. >> because the idea that someone would die of cancer because they can't get treatment because they were out of a job -- the details of the ad are a little -- it's a little unclear what the causal mechanisms at play were. but the principle that people should be covered, right? father, is a principle that i think generally people have a moral intuition is probably a good idea and there's a tradition of taking care of this
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outside the insurance industry in terms of charitable care that's been offered, not turning people away from the emergency room but also in the catholic tradition there's a very strong catholic tradition of calling for something that looks like universal coverage. >> yes, there is. in catholic social teaching john paul ii called for it particularly in the rights of workers in one of his encycli l encyclica encyclicals. but there's a larger catholic teaching of the common good, we're not all individualistic. and frankly it goes back to even further than that, to jesus, the guy who said "be not afraid." also said that we'll be judged by the way that we help the poor. so absolutely. and i think it's something that -- i'm not a politician, but it's something that governor romney should be proud of. frankly. i mean, that's a good thing. to hp people get affordable health care seems like a good thing. >> and not only i think be proud of. but it is the signature legislative accomplishment during his -- the one time that he occupied an executive office. >> it's in his portrait. >> it's in his portrait. so the idea that you can -- i
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mean, i understand he's not going to talk about it in the primary. it enflames the base. but the point is they've drawn such a tremendous no-go zone around it. not the romney campaign who i think understand that yeah, that's a great argument for them to say, look, we can be bridge builders too and we work with democrats and we did all these things. finally, the tax issue remains. i think the contours of this are pretty clear which is that i think people think the romney campaign is not going to release it. so now the point is to extract maximum cost from them politically. because -- no, i think that's -- >> that is true. >> that's the fair strategic play. but father, i need to get your consultation. is it a mortal or veenal sin to cast aspersions on the tax records of a candidate? can we get a ruling on that? >> that's a very jesuit political question. >> yes, exactly. >> i would say it depends on your intent. how's that? >> that's a perfectly jesuitical answer. sam stein, joy reid, and father james barton, great to have you all. >> thanks, chris. >> my pleasure. coming up, president obama takes a stand on an important issue in a swing state that mitt
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romney cannot counter without a serious flip-flop that would enrage romney's base maybe even as much as romney defending his health care plan. that's next. and how much do republicans love the idea of paul ryan as mitt romney's vice presidential pick? almost as much as democrats love the idea of running ads about medicare coupons in florida. that's in the spotlight. and later, we have finally found a serious case of election fraud in this country the republicans had been warning us about. the accused are republican staffers. that's coming up. this is new york state.
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it is rare that a candidate can take an enlightened policy position that's also a winner a swing state that also puts your opponent at a total loss of a counterargument that will not anger the opposing base. but barack obama has found that argument and is using it against mitt romney. that's next. and later, one of the guys who helped land the mars "curiosity" rover has become an internet sensation. he's the only one with a mohawk and he's joining me coming up.
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when approaching slower traffic. and for the blind spot monitoring that helps remind you that the highway might not be as desolate... you thought. ♪ at a moment when home-grown energy, renewable energy is creating new jobs in states like colorado and iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers. colorado, it's time to stop spending billions in taxpayer subsidies on an oil industry that's already making a lot of profit and let's keep investing in new energy sources that have never been more promising. that's a choice in this election. >> that was president obama today in pueblo, colorado, attacking mitt romney for
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opposing a tax credit for wind energy producers. wind energy is an important issue in pueblo, colorado, home to vestus, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturing facility, employing 400 people in pueblo and another 1,600 workers statewide. which is what made today's campaign event so remarkable. because when the topic is energy policy, the politics whether they're regional politics or interest group politics, push politicians toward the absolute worst, most craven positions. protection of the incumbent fossil fuel industry that is slowly cooking the planet. i'll note that july was the warmest month in the u.s. in recorded history. but the distinct and somewhat strange contours of this year's political map are changing the political incentives around energy policy, at least in a few crucial ways. in colorado, one of the most important swing states, about 5,000 people work in wind production and nearly 37,000 work in the wind industry nationwide. just last week in a rare show of bipartisan teamwork, the senate finance committee voted to renew
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a wind energy tax credit for one more year. the tax break would cost $3.3 billion and would help the wind industry develop more wind farms and create more jobs. after the summer recess, the bill will go to a full senate vote. but mitt romney wants that subsidy to die. his spokeswoman said today, "unfortunately under president obama's approach of massive subsidies and handouts, the industry has lost 10,000 jobs while growth in wind power has slowed every year of his term. now he wants to double down for another year on this failed approach at a cost of $12 billion." while romney is against subsidies for wind energy in march he supported a filibuster by senate republicans which preserved $24 billion over ten years in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. joining me now, howard fineman, huffington post erltd director and msnbc political analyst, and josh green, a senior national correspondent for bloomberg business week. great to have you here. josh, i think the politics of this are interesting for a number of reasons. one of which is that there is some bipartisan cooperation on
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extending the tax credits and part of this is the basic geography of interest group politics. you have folks in iowa saying that this is a mistake to oppose it. iowa republican governor terry branstead took issue with the romney campaign website using the term windmill instead of wind turbine. he said, "they don't understand. you've got a bunch of people that have put that website together that are a bunch of east coast people that need to get out here in the real world to find out what's really going on." how do you think the politics of this cut? >> well, obviously, it's difficult for romney. i actually give him a little bit of credit for this because it's the only example i can think of of him doing something that isn't in his immediate short-term political interest. he's really taking a stand on -- >> he hates wind that much. >> -- principle. not just wind. he went to iowa. he said he was against ethanol subsidy. so what's interesting about this, politics aside, is that it's a case where he's actually specified some of the tax credits that he says he's going
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to eliminate to bring down tax rates, broaden the base, that sort of thing. we've heard almost nothing about what he'd be willing to get rid of. and here's an actual tangible, although tiny example of something he really would eliminate. >> well, tangible, tiny, and let me just say it. what's interesting, and howard, i want you to weigh in on this, there's a story that mitt romney has tried to tell, there's a story about crony capitalism and subsidies, right? but that story is deeply complicated by the fact that obviously the republican party took that vote against getting rid of the subsidies for the oil companies. so it's hard to kind of hew to this strict beautiful pristine kind of randian line of government subsidy of the energy industry. >> no, absolutely. and because he's only specified a tiny amount of what he would be willing to do, most middle-class voters and most observers have no idea how they would benefit, if benefit at all from romney's tax reform. so as a result, people want to know what kinds of actual tangible things you could do. and i kind of disagree with josh here.
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because i think that mitt romney would have a line of attack against the president, who made some big promises about what investment in alternative energy would do. how many jobs that would create. the president really and the administration hasn't come anywhere close to reaching those goals and mitt romney could attack him on that line saying you really haven't done enough in terms of alternative energy and he would have an open door to push on with the president. instead by taking the position he has, he allowed the president once again, who has really actually a spotty record of job production on this, to take the offensive and play the shining knight as he did in colorado today. he gave up that issue. >> and i would say -- josh, i'll let you respond, but there's some history here, of course. right? which is that, you know, mitt romney, shocker, surprise, as governor of massachusetts was quite supportive of a bunch of different mechanisms of industrial policy to subsidize alternative energy there and remains -- the state massachusetts remains to this
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day probably one of the most supportive. josh? >> sure. and i should stipulate i would favor the extension of these production tax credits. but i think the real case for them is if you look at what mitt romney claims to stand for, which is growing jobs and entrepreneurialism. these credits have been vital, going back 30 years in the history of this country, to building the wind industry. and actually, there is a tortured history of the interplay between these tax credits and the industry going back to the 1980s, when ronald reagan first killed them in 1985, the u.s. was the global leader in wind and energy and what happened was companies immediately went bankrupt. the whole industry gravitated overseas. so the reason, for instance, that vestas is in colorado, that's a danish company. the wind industry gravitated to denmark. so this isn't just a matter of tax credits and randian economics. it also hurts the very thing that romney claims to stand for in building up new jobs, building up new industries, which obama did try to do. i actually give him quite a bit
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of credit for the energy bill -- or for the stimulus and the money it gave for clean energy, despite the fact that, you know, there's sliill ind rah and a number of bad examples that have gone bad and been demonized. >> they haven't created the number of jobs they had hoped. but the other interesting thing here, chris, is that a lot of republicans, a lot of investment banker types, a lot of republicans that we used to call country club republicans love wind energy, wind energy as an investment. one of them is george w. bush's cousin happ ellis of new england who's an early wind energy investor. that's why george w. bush had nice things to say about it. it's actually something that has bipartisan support on the hill. and once again, mitt romney has found a way to find something that could be popular and turn it into something unpopular. >> let me note the elephant in the room. which is carbon emissions. wind does not put carbon in the
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atmosphere. and in fact if you factored -- i would be happy to offer conservatives watching at home, who i'm sure there are many of, the deal that if we price in carbon and price and externality we can get rid of all tax cuts and make a level playing field that way. howard feman and josh green, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> thanks, chris. coming up, there's one vice presidential pick for mitt romney that both sides would love to see on the ticket. the push for paul ryan is coming. you p and is it any wonder republicans have been so sure election fraud is a real damg in this country? now four republicans have been charged with election fraud. that's coming up. the capital one cash rewards card
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there are a lot of reasons republicans want paul ryan as mitt romney's running mate, but wanting paul ryan because you don't believe mitt romney can defend himself? that's a new one. republican paul ryan fever is next. and one of the men who ran for the republican nomination for president is now at the center of a serious case of election fraud that no voter i.d. law could have ever prevented. but then, that was never the point, was it? that's coming up. ♪ ♪ three, six, nine ♪ the goose drank wine ♪ the monkey chew tobacco on the streetcar line ♪ ♪ ♪ clap, pat, clap your hand
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we know what direction we want to go. we want the paul ryan budget. we just need a president who will sign this stuff. the leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the house and the senate. pick a republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the united states. >> that was grover norquist's proposal at conservatives' cpac in february. and today the "wall street journal" upped the ante with its
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editorial, "why not paul ryan?" touting the fact that the house budget chairman has put "entitlement reform at the center of the public agenda, relentlessly pursued tax reform and spending restrained, and provides the best opportunity to dramatize the nature and stakes of this election." it's a gross overestimation of both the seriousness and the popularity of the ryan republican budget which the non-partisan congressional budget office has pointed out relies on the very same fantastical math that the romney economic plan is now being knocked for. that is to say, it promises a surge of new tax revenue resulting from a surge of economic growth resulting from tax reforms and spending cuts that ryan has yet to specify. it's also an overestimation of ryan's political appeal. a new cnn poll out tonight shows that a plurality of republican voters either don't know or don't care who he is. and he's not their top vice presidential pick coming in far behind senator marco rubio. the most curious assertion in the journal's case is that closer association with the ryan budget would be a political winner.
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the reason, that spending cuts of the depth and destructiveness of the cuts that ryan's proposing have never happened before is precisely because they're unpopular. romney is already tethered to the ryan budget. do republicans want ryan on the trail in the flesh and blood to serve as a constant reminder of that fact? most voters don't follow beltway politics and probably have never heard of the ryan plan because it has no chance of becoming law with president obama in the white house. but with ryan on the ticket, the republican presidential nominee who, quote, has enough working digits as grover norquist says to sign the ryan budget into law you can bet voters will learn in gruesome detail how it will impact them. the center on policy and budget priorities has runt numbers on the effect the cuts in discretionary spending just the cuts in discretionary spending in the ryan budget would have on each state in the first full fiscal year of a romney presidency. nearly $1 billion in cuts for aid to schools, roads, and law enforcement play with voters in pennsylvania. or cuts in excess of $1.3 billion in federal aid to florida sound to voters in the sunshine state. that's just the first year.
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the cuts get more severe over time. and that's not counting the radical changes to medicare ryan is proposing, about which voters in florida are going to be very familiar by the time election day rolls around. joining me now are msnbc krirnts karen finney, former dnc communications director, and dave weigel, a political reporter for slate. it's great to see you guys. dave, okay, i -- my understanding of the affection for ryan, the desire to see ryan on the ticket coming from the right are two things -- one, they're constantly searching for signs that romney really is down with them. i mean, this is this unending set of signals that he's sending and they're not liking and he had this flap of andrea saul and bob zoellick. so that's one. and two it strikes me that they as partisans and ideologues often do and i've done this sometimes, overestimate the popularity of their own extreme positions. what do you think about that? >> well, they do. you can't really understate how much ryan is tied in with the conservative movement. he worked for jack kemp's empower america when he first got to washington in his 20s.
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he was tipped by the "wall street journal" -- the "wall street journal" editorial page which has kind of started the new wave of this asked for him to run against john boehner to run the house in 2008. i mean, when he was 38 years old. so he's very much a chosen one. and there has been, i think, a little bit of a mobius strip of re-enforcement. they've convinced themselves that he's popular. they have little data points they point to to say that -- to prove that he's popular. democracy corps, the james carville group, put out a poll and asked voters the most positive spin on the ryan plan. described the he ryan plan in glowing terms and 52% of the people liked it. the point is more people didn't like it. >> paul ryan doesn't have a district that's overwhelmingly republican. so he's had some success in an area in which he does have to win democratic votes. karen finney, the ryan budget seems like the proverbial albatross around the necks of mitt romney and the rest of the republicans. although i also feel it hasn't been as central to the campaign thus far as i think i thought it
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would be given how central the republicans made the $500 billion in cuts to medicare during 2010. >> well, remember, though, the ryan budget was central to one very important upstate new york race that the republicans should have won and of course, i'm talking about kathy hoakle. so the point being if they put ryan on the ticket that -- i mean, the reason that democrats are thrilled by this potential idea is that it means again we bring, you know, all of the issues that you laid out in the opening back to the fore. they're very unpopular. they've completely overestimated how unpopular those ideas are. and again, they couldn't win in a district where they should have won on these ideas. so we already know, there's already proof that that's going to fall flat. the other thing that's really important just from a tactical perspective, when i look at those numbers and you see sort of how many people don't really even know much about paul ryan, what that means is tactically that means somebody's going to define him. >> right. >> and democrats have done a very good job of defining mitt romney thus far as we've seen in the polls because as his
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popularity continues to fall. so once democrats get out there and start talking about paul ryan, it won't just hurt mitt romney, but i think there's real potential there to make others on the down ballot races, senate and house races have to justify why they would support such a ticket. >> i also think -- i mean, i think the sort of risk-averse case that we've heard coming out from the romney camp of the boring white guy kind of thing, with the bizarre racial specification bracketed for a moment, that -- and gender specification. that the -- that the basic idea of risk aversion in the vp pick makes sense to me. it doesn't seem look a vice presidential pick can help you that much. it can hurt you if you get a whole bunch of stories about the ryan budget. but the other thing to me that i found fascinating about the "wall street journal" is there's a desire by conservatives and even a desire by romney to make this election a totemic clash between alternate visions of the role of the state and the individual. here let me read this little bit from ryan lizza's great profile of paul ryan in the new yorker.
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"ryan was a reliable republican vote for policies that were key in causing enormous federal budget deficits. sweeping tax cuts, costly prescription drug entitlement for medicare unpaid for, two wars, the multiple billion-dollar bank bailout legislation known as t.a.r.p. all in all 5 trillion was added to the national debt. ryan told me recently that as a fiscal conservative he was miserable during the last majority and determined to do everything i can make sure that i don't feel that rizry again." why is that paul ryan is able to get away with all that apasty during those years and others aren't? >> i think he's rewarded in part because the rest of the media have welcomed him. the fact that he -- that the democrats are -- the special election and he didn't switch from that, that's something that appeals to political reporters. his punishment at the ebbnd of 2011 was being written up by "time" magazine as one of the men of the year. and i think the dream of any party is to find someone who looks moderate and is covered as a moderate but will do ideologically in policy terms what they want. that's what they believe
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happened with barack obama. that he was appealing -- and you hear republicans sometimes refer to ryan as their obama. less so now because it sounds a bit more like an insult to them. but as someone who's charismatic, who the media adores, who's telegeneralic, but can get away with anything, basically. >>care karen. >> the other thing is obviously he's young and they recognize, there have been a lot of stories about the challenges the republican party is having attracting younger voters, energizing younger voters. so i think there's that. but let's not forget, so we're having this conversation the day after we saw yet again how much trouble romney really is in and how little support, how fragile the support romney has with the core conservatives of his base. andrea saul's comment should not have created the kind of firestorm that it did. and it shows that that is such a fragile alliance, that if they have to throw paul ryan's name out there and try to gin up some more support to say hey, we'll do something to make happy, that just shows you that there is a
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lot of opportunity between now and the election -- again, i think democrats recognize this. this issue of honest and trustworthiness because it's not just do moderates and democrats trust him but people in his own party don't trust he's a true conservative. >> are they setting themselves up, quickly, for disappointment if they don't go with ryan, the romney campaign in terms of the base being perpetually disappointed and frustrated? >> i think they will. there's already a twitter campaign, a hashtag give us ryan, which to me sounds too much like barrabas. >> we are just full of new testament references tonight. >> i want to keep with the theme. but a little bit. tim pawlenty used to be this kind of politician. from the time paul ryan sat in blair house and debated barack obama on health care they believe he can win any policy argument they put him up to. they don't have that confidence in the other nominees. >> quairn finney and dave weigel, thanks so much. >> thanks. coming up, there's not one voter i.d. law that's been passed in this country that would have prevented the serious case of alleged election fraud
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that several republicans are facing felony charges. that's next. and later, one nasa scientist who helped land the mars "curiosity" rover has gotten an enormous share avenue tension and even marriage proposals. he joins me coming up. hey! did you know that honey nut cheerios has oats that can help lower cholesterol? and it tastes good? sure does! wow. it's the honey, it makes it taste so... well, would you look at the time... what's the rush? be happy. be healthy. trick question. i love everything about this country!
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one of the totally bad-ass nasa scientists that helped land the mars rover joins me coming up. and next, a former republican presidential candidate and his staffers that are accused of election fraud. like how a little oil from here can be such a big thing in an old friend's life. we discovered that by blending enhanced botanical oils into our food, we can help brighten an old dog's mind so he's up to his old tricks. it's just one way purina one is making the world a better place... one pet at a time. discover vibrant maturity and more at
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♪ nice radio head bump in, control room. in republican-controlled states across the country, we have recently seen a rash of strict new voter i.d. laws and voter roll purges. the claim from republican lawmakers and fox news, as jon stewart brilliantly lampooned last night, is that there's an epidemic of voter and election fraud in america being perpetrated by a back from the dead zombie acorn or something. >> conservatives in their media division are up in arms over voter fraud. >> the national republican lawyers only found 340 cases of voter fraud over a ten-year period in all of america. >> oh, my god! that's almost -- .7 cases per
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state per year. and it also includes registration fraud like registering the wrong address or writing mickey mouse on a petition, which photo i.d. would andres, but still -- aahhh! >> the truth is there's allegedly a serious case of election fraud happening in the battleground state of michigan. there's just one problem for republican legislators worried about election fraud. the accused in the case are staffers for a one-time republican legislator. former house representative from the state of michigan thaddeus nacoter. he resigned from the house 34 days ago citing, quote, nightmarish circumstances. that included his re-election campaign submitting pages with invalid signatures in support of his candidacy to the michigan board of elections. mccotter then asked his name be removed from the ballot for the state's republican primary which took place this past monday. and now four of mckotter's former staffers have been charged in connection to those
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invalid election petitions. deputy district director yao chung. seawald. mary melissa turnbull and lori ann o'brady. 11 felony charges went to deputy district director don yaoshung. one to director paul seewald and one to melissa turnball. they include election law forgery and conspiracy charges. unless you ahappen to be one of mr. mckotter's loved ones or his criminally charged former staffs the nine-page report is an amazing report. some highlights, quote, employees of michigan's bureau of elections concluded that the filing contained numerous duplicate and triplicate copies of petition sheets. calling it "a deliberate attempt to circumvent the requirements of michigan election law and hide known deficiencies in the petitions from state election officials." the investigation conducted revealed that petition collection efforts were carried out by a dysfunctional congressional staff that had completely lost its moral compass. staffers functioned with the
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arrogant attitude that the rules simply did not apply to them. michigan's attorney general is calling the four the mccotter crew. and even though thaddeus mccotter has not been charged with any crime the state's republican attorney general saved his harshest criticism for the disgraced congressman. >> any position of public trust the elected official, the elected official has a duty to be engaged and involved and mind the store. here, former congressman mccotter was asleep at the switch. this brazen attitude, this brazen attitude of indifference of public servants is disgraceful. >> mccotter responded with a statement this afternoon, "i thank the attorney general and his office for their earnest, thorough work on this investigation which i requested and their subsequent report." so as it turns out, michigan anyway, the trick to stopping election fraud isn't voter roll purges or voter i.d. laws, it's governor bureaucrats in the attorney general's office doing their jobs well.
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up next, one of the guys who landed the "curiosity" rover on mars. the guys with -- the guy with the mohawk in his first live tv interview. with the spark miles card from capital one,
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apollo 13 flight controllers, listen up. give me a go, no-go for launch. booster. >> go. >> guidance. >> guidance go. >> surgeon. >> go flight. >> ecom? >> we're go. >> gnc? >> we're going. >> control? >> go flight. >> procedures. >> go. >> inko. >> go. >> fao? >> we are go. >> network. >> go. >> recovery. >> go. >> hepcom. >> we're go, flight. >> launch control, this is houston. we are go for launch. >> seriously, if that does not give you goose bumps i don't know what's wrong with you. that was ed harris playing nasa's famous flight director gene krantz in the movie "apollo 13." tonight another nasa flight director is gaining worldwide
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attention. he cuts a different figure than the buzz-cut krantz. bobak ferdowsi was the flight director who helped land the $2.5 billion rover "curiosity" onto mars monday. once cameras caught his unusual look a frenzy broke out over the internet with online memes, tumblr page and thousands more tweets including this one. "marry me. you're my ideal man, i.e. smarter than me with better hair. congratulations." bobak ferdowsi, thank you for being here. and congratulations. >> thank you so much. it's a pleasure to be here. >> the look you're sporting tonight has swag, as i was expecting you would have. you have more swag than almost anyone i know at nasa. my question to you, we got our first color photo from mars today, which is just a remarkable image. it looks like it's taken from a desert in california. we saw you crying in the b roll we just showed. what did it feel like when you
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actually pulled it off this week, something that is from what i've been reading so fantastically complex i cannot believe it actually worked. >> it was an incredible experience. obviously, the team has put years of their lives into this moment. and what you saw there was, you know, that kind of outpouring of years of hard work finally paying off. team members that are friends, families that have kind of made sacrifices to work those long hours. and then you saw us crying and hugging. and a lot of emotions coming out there. >> you tweeted today, nasa inside secret, we actually practice those really awkward high fives you see in the landing video. was that tongue in cheek? please tell me that's actually true. >> no, we actually have team practices. there's two of us. we go out for high fives. and a third guy actually guides both of our hands. so they miss. >> the mission of nasa seemed a little indeterminate for a
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period, particularly as there were obviously some tremendous setbacks and tragedies with the shuttle program. and once the shuttle program was tapered off i think there was this question of what exactly is nasas role? we're not going to land on the moon. we're not using the shuttle to do a lot of space stationy type of stuff. the "curiosity" project seems to me for the first time in a while when it felt like space exploration was in the public consciousness again in a really genuine and exciting fashion. do you guys feel that there and do you feel that there's a real scientific project and justification for this going forward? >> oh, absolutely. i think all of us think this is just an incredible project. and part of the thing with this project that's so amazing is that this technology that we did, designed the sky crane, which seemed so crazy and actually worked, you know, flawlessly, is really the kind of the workhorse we see for the decade coming up of future mars missions. specifically with this rover i think the science we're going to get out of it is amazing. the pictures are of course beautiful. but one of the really cool
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things is that this rover carries instruments on board that are really a lot more like what geologists on earth would have. we're carrying about 15 to 16 times the mass of instruments of the previous rovers. so i think it's going to be just absolutely amazing for the next couple of years. >> okay. my final question for you is this. your job seems awesome. and you also seem -- you seem pretty young. my question is, how do you end up doing your job? if someone is watching this and you're 13 years old or 8 years oled and you love space, how do you become the next bobak ferdowsi? >> i think you've got to love what you do. and for me i started out, you know, in a kind of small role on this project. but i went to undergraduate and graduate for aerospace then started working there, small roles, worked my way up, did some testing. and then finally when operations came around they gave me a chance to be a flight director. and yeah, it's an incredibly rewarding experience. i think what you've got to do is find what you love. and of course, i think the biggest part for us was the team bonding experience. so they put their faith in me, i put my faith in them.
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and, you know, together we were able to put a rover on mars. >> it's really remarkable to watch. and just the sheer complexity of the project both from the technical perspective and also just the human perspective. how many people worked on this to make this happen? >> jpl alone, we had about 3,500 people. >> amazing. >> and that doesn't include all the other centers and contractors and everything else. i believe i heard a number somewhere around 7,000 people in total worked on this project. >> bobak ferdowsi gets the last word. thanks so much. be sure to watch the very last word on the show website, "hardball's" up next. > newt gingrich. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews. in washington. let me start tonight with this
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romney search for a running mate. what's he really looking snore a partner to run the country with for the next eight years or four years? does anybody really believe he's out there looking for someone to share the burden and grandeur of office? is it someone to be in the room when decisions are called for? does anyone believe romney is the kind of guy to share the decision-making power of the presidency? so what does he want? someone to help win the election, obviously. someone to get him a state he's unlikely to get otherwise. that he'd pick portman perhaps of ohio or rubio of florida. they'll get him a state each. someone to complement his personality. that's to use that term loosely. someone to offset his rich guy stiffness and remoteness. then he'd pick a regular middle-class guy like, say, tim pawlenty of minnesota. how about someone to show ideological conviction, the kind people don't really associate with romney himself? then paul romney would make the case. i've got an idea. how about he makes a running mate decision that shows whoa, mitt romney, really is, someone who really has the right stuff to be president? now, that would show character, judgment, true patriotism, all
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important to any president no matter what his philosophy. so let's see where he's heading. joining me right now is a guy who really knows, former speaker of the house newt gingrich, who ran against romney for the nomination. mr. speaker, thank you. >> good to be here. >> you must be thinking and you must have your ear to this. is he going to do the obvious, white bread, double down on boredom and pick portman or pawlenty? is he going to reach over to the right and say damn, it i'm going to pick a guy of conviction to my right, i'm going to pick ryan, paul ryan? >> i don't know. i don't think anybody knows. i think the only three people who have a pretty good idea about this are bess meyers, who's doing the job, and governor romney and his wife, ann. i think those are the only three people i believe who really are in the inner circle in this decision. >> let's talk about this. first of all, if he had to pick somebody that had nothing to do with electability, just somebody to be really smart in the back room with him, sitting there when the tough decisions are made and he says what do you think and that really means something to him. which of these guys should he pick? just for